Golf cart confusion in BSL
By Cassandra Favre
Aug 24, 2013, 00:19
At Tuesday's Bay St. Louis city council meeting, Ward Six Councilman Lonnie Falgout said he was worried about children driving their intoxicated parents around on golf carts at this month's Second Saturday Artwalk in Old Town.
"Last week, we noticed some children driving this golf cart and in one particular instance they had a couple of parents on the back of this golf cart and they were pretty well inebriated and the child that was driving was about 10 years old," Falgout said. "I would like the chief to come and give his opinion, I know we are getting to be a golf cart community but I think we need to make sure we enforce these rules before someone actually gets hurt.
"We need to cut down on this before a child ends up getting seriously hurt."
"A few months ago, you voted to go by state law," Police Chief Mike De Nardo told the council.
In the Sept. 2012 Bay St. Louis Police department monthly report, the state legislation regarding golf carts was included.
According to the report, a key change in the law is a golf cart/low-speed vehicle is now considered a motor vehicle and must be operated within the laws that govern motor vehicles.
An abstract of that law:
Any person operating a low-speed vehicle or golf cart must have a valid driver's license or temporary driver's permit, be accompanied by a licensed driver, and have proof of insurance.
Operation of low-speed vehicles and golf carts shall be limited to the hours between sunrise and sunset.
There will be a registration requirement which will be set up by the county tax office.
Any low-speed vehicle or golf cart that is operated on any public roadway must comply with safety standards to be operated on public highways, roads and streets. The standards include: headlamps, front and rear turn signal lamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, rear reflex reflector on each side, exterior mirror mounted on driver's side and either passenger exterior mirror or an interior mirror, parking brake, windshield conforming to federal motor vehicle safety standard on glazing materials, a VIN number, type one or two seat belt assembly, general test conditions.
The term motor vehicle shall not apply to electric personal assistive mobility devices.
Ward Five Councilman Joey Boudin asked if tickets were written to anyone violating these golf cart rules.
"We have written some tickets on that and we presently have some matters before the court on that, " City Attorney Donald Rafferty said. "The position of the city has been in the past that the officer's discretion as long as there wasn't a safety issue or for special events, we were not necessarily going to stop everyone we saw on a golf cart.
"This is a hot topic and a sister community of ours went and got local and private legislation from the state legislature to allow them certain exemptions and things, but we don't have some of the amenities that they have for that," Rafferty said.
"My discussion with our chief is that he has instructed his officers to be reasonable, practical and as long as someone is not causing a dangerous situation and frankly I think they have enforced this thing pretty well."
"The biggest thing is the kids," De Nardo said. "We have kids on Dunbar, Second Street and all those areas driving golf carts.
"The parents were sitting there watching them and we explained to the parents that they would be cited and would be charged."
"We have talked in depth about this and I think the problem is that we have had numerous and numerous meetings and you can't have it both ways," Ward One Councilman Doug Seal said. "Either you got to adopt it that they are legal and that they can drive them around your city or you can say you follow state law.
"We'll just continue to follow state law, it's a bottle of worms unless you do local and private," Seal said.
The cities of Diamondhead and Pass Christian have obtained local and private legislation regarding golf carts.
In other action:
Councilmen approved Mayor Les Fillingame's recommendations for department heads. They are: Buddy Zimmerman, director of public works; Mike De Nardo, police chief; Pam San Fillippo, fire chief; George Lipscomb, municipal judge; Peggy Averhart, clerk of court; David Kolf, city clerk; Donald Rafferty, city attorney. Councilmen approved the mayor's recommendation six to one, with Ward 5 Councilman Joey Boudin against.
Boudin questioned Kolf's part-time status.
"I've been as full-time as necessary," Kolf said. "Working about 35 hours a week."
"He's full-time as needed," Fillingame said.
Councilmen approved submitting the Hancock County Healthzone Plan to planning and zoning for review.
Councilmen announced their recommendations for the harbor advisory committee.
Out of 16 candidates, councilmen narrowed it down to eight. They are: Chris Roth, John Scafidi, Lee Seal, J.P. Compretta, Charles Lefleur, Rod Ward, Chet Leblanc and John Rosetti. There will be seven people on this committee.
"This committee will be a management team," said city clerk David Kolf. "The members will have harbor experience and will help determine rates and appointing a harbor master."
• An updated fireworks ordinance amending ordinance 541 section three, stating the dates for discharging fireworks will be set by the city council in Nov. of the preceding year.
• The donation of three vehicles to the St. Tammany sheriff's office.
• Motion to accept the donation of four Harley Davidson Road King motorcycles as from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's office.
• A motion to accept the donation of trees from the Live Oak Alliance of Mississippi through the Hancock Community Development Foundation to be planted and maintained for one year along the waterfront with support from the beautification department.